I grew up in Youngstown watching the Vietnam War on the evening news. Meanwhile, young men from Youngstown were serving, fighting and dying in Vietnam. The war was unpopular, and sadly, we took it out on the returning soldiers, who, living or dead, did not always receive the honor they deserve. Each year, on Memorial Day, I remember one of those who died, representing the sixty-four from Youngstown who made the ultimate sacrifice.
This year I focus on Lance Corporal Charles F. Azara, Jr. He served with H(otel) Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine
Regiment, 3rd Marine Division.
Charles F. Azara, Jr. was born to Charles F. Azara and Rose Adams Azara Ranno on September 8, 1942. He graduated from North High School in 1960, where he played football and was a member of the school band. After graduation, he worked for Strouss-Hirshberg, Simco Shoe, and then the Edward J. Debartolo Construction Company.
He enlisted in the Marine Corps in November of 1965 at the Cleveland recruiting office. After bootcamp, he was deployed in Vietnam at the end of May 1966. On August 24, 1966, he was on combat patrol in the mountains approximately 14 km north northwest of the An Hoa Airfield, a Marine Corps Combat Base in Quang Nam Province. At about 1100 hours local time, his patrol came under small arms fire and he received a gunshot wound to the neck from which he died before medevac could arrive, approximately at 1200 hours. He died less than a month before his 24th birthday.
Funeral services were held on Saturday September 3 at the Immaculate Conception Church followed by interment at Calvary Cemetery, where he lies at rest.
He was awarded the Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, and Vietnam Campaign medals. He served with honor, dying in action. His name appears on the Vietnam War Memorial on Panel 10E, Line 32. I honor and remember him, and all who died in service to our country.
Other servicemen remembered in this series:
To read other posts in the Growing Up in Working Class Youngstown series, just click “On Youngstown.” Enjoy!